What happens if the cat eats kibble that has expired, or cat food beyond its expiration date? What risks are there for Micio’s health?
If we leave cat food out, and worry that it will spoil, it is better to know what the risks are for our cat if he eats expired kibble. But it can also happen simply out of distraction, because we haven’t checked the label before preparing the cat’s lunch, and not necessarily when the expiration date has passed the food will have gone bad. Let’s find out more about it.
What happens if the cat eats expired food
If we ask ourselves if we can give our cat some expired kibble, the answer is simply: no, for safety we must not do it.
In general, it is advisable to avoid it because it could make our cat sick. Of course, it can happen that we make mistakes, but we try not to do it for safety.
In any case, we need to understand what are the actual health risks of our four-legged friend, and what the difference is between an expiration date and a preferable use date.
When the cat food passes its expiration date, there is actually some time beyond that day, when the kibble is still edible.
Also, kibble and dry food generally last longer than cans of wet food.
The proteins and nutrients in food degrade over time, which is why an expiration date is needed.
The main reason a food can get spoiled is exposure to air. This can cause bacteria to form and grow in food.
And this can happen for various reasons, for example when we open a sealed package and use it only partially, leaving it half open.
The high humidity of the air is another reason why food can spoil, with the formation of mold. But even heat can damage food, making it rancid.
To best preserve food, a cool and dry place, away from sudden changes in temperature, is preferable. Usually a pantry or a piece of furniture in the kitchen is perfect.
The importance of the expiration date
The date by which the food should be used is very important, as it indicates when the nutritional value of the food will begin to decline.
This date should not be confused with the expiration date. This date, in fact, indicates that after that day it is not possible to guarantee the nutritional benefit indicated on the label.
The expiration date, on the other hand, indicates the time when the food will no longer be safe to eat. And depending on the type of food, it can vary a lot.
For example, dry food (and snacks) last 4 months to 3 years, while wet and canned food lasts much longer, 1 to 5 years.
To understand if food is still okay, we cannot rely only on the appearance and smell, with which it may seem to us that it is still of good quality.
Instead, it may lack nutritional benefits because it has expired. Because of this, it won’t feed our cat enough if we use it for too long.
Let’s say that, once, we could still feed the cat with this food. But in the long run, we will begin to notice health problems in the cat because it is not being fed properly.
Even the packaging in which the food is packed can in the long run become contaminated. This is even more true with biodegradable packaging, in any case.
In any case, we try to check the packaging, to make sure there are no problems. If it broke, the food would spoil prematurely.
The rules to follow for storing cat food
In most cat food, we notice a certain level of fat that is contained: it is an important part of our cat’s diet.
And when food runs out, fat becomes a problem. Potentially, it is precisely these substances that can ruin it in fact.
Before serving food to our cat, we always check that it has not gone bad. We pay attention to the expiration date and its smell.
Furthermore, preservatives are the substances used in food to increase its shelf life. And they themselves also have a shelf life.
After the expiration date of the food, the preservatives no longer work. As a result, the food can become moldy and spoil.
Once opened, canned food should be kept in the fridge and used within a few days. On the label we will certainly find all the instructions for correct use.
Canned food (such as wet, canned food) typically lasts longer. But this only applies as long as it is sealed . Once opened, it will only last a few days.
Cat food should not be kept out all the time, unless we let the cat be free to manage his meals. We should still change it every morning anyway.
If the cat is not consuming all of its food at the end of the day, consider reducing the amount we offer, perhaps.
We do not put dry cat food in the freezer, only in a sealed container and in a cool, dry place. Canned wet food, on the other hand, goes to the refrigerator when opened.